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8 Amazing Large African Dog Breeds You Need to Know

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Are you in search of large African dog breeds that can make you stand out of the crowd?

You have landed on the right page! 

I have come up with a list of some of the gorgeous African dog breeds that are sure to make heads turn.

Now, when we think about Africa, what comes to our mind are wild animals, safari, awesome BBQ, desserts, and, of course, scorching heat. We don’t really think about the country’s native dog breeds, isn’t it?

But, let me tell you, Africa has several dog breed varieties to offer you. They can weigh from 8 to 200 pounds. And they are all different from each other and beautiful in their own way.

So, do you miss the large African dog breeds that you used to spend time with when you were a kid? Or, do you want to be a parent to some dog breed different from the very common and, yes, all-time American favorites?

I have good news for you!

Large African Dog Breeds

RankingNameHeightWeightLife spanBreed sizeTemperamentOrigin
1Boerboel22 to 27 inches 110 to 200 pounds10 to 12 yearsLargeObedient, Dominant, Territorial, Intelligent, Loyal, ConfidentSouth Africa
2Africanis20 to 24 inches55 to 100 pounds9 to 12 yearsMediumloyal, courageous, tremendous stamina, very playful, intelligentSouth Africa
3Rhodesian Ridgeback24 to 27 inches75 to 80 pounds10 to 12 yearsLargeSensitive, Dignified, Mischievous, Intelligent, Strong Willed, LoyalAfrica
4Sloughi24 to 29 inches35 to 65 pounds12 to 15 yearsLargeSensitive, loyal, alert, athletic, energeticNorth Africa
5Aidi20 to 24 inches50 to 55 pounds12 to 15 yearsMediumEnergetic and highly protective, powerful, agile, Sensitive.North Africa
6Armant21 to 23 inches51 to 60 pounds11 to 13 yearsMediumcalm, gentle, loyal, intelligent, activeAfrica
7Greyhound25 to 30 inches50 to 85 pounds10 to 14 yearsExtra LargeEven Tempered, Intelligent, Affectionate, Athletic, Gentle, QuietEngland
8Saluki23 to 28 inches40 to 60 pounds12 to 14 yearsLargeAloof, Quiet, Intelligent, ReservedFertile Crescent

There is some African dog breed for everyone. I will describe each of those breeds so that you can have a clear idea of what that dog breed is all about. And you can shortlist some of your favorites. So now sit back and relax, and I will take you to the best safari of large African dog breeds!

#1. Boerboel


Did you know that Boerboel is known as the big lion-dog of Africa? You can pronounce Boerboel as “buor-bul.” Boerboels are bred in order to save South African homesteads from ferocious and wild predators. Boerboels are so protective of their estate and family that they can take down even a lion if they need to!

If you measure the height of Boerboels, they will be about 27 inches, and if you weigh them, they will be anywhere between 150 and 200 pounds. They have strong muscles and powerful jaws, and you don’t want to be on bad terms with them!

Did I tell you that the Boerboels come from the Molosser line of dogs? And that means that they have a similar lineage as all the Pitbull breeds, Cane Corso, Caucasian Shepherd, and many others.

But when they are with their family, you get to witness their loving and devoted side. They are super sweet, gentle, and very popular for their love for children. Do you have children at home? Then the Boerboels can be a good fit for you.

Boerboels are good therapy dogs, too – all thanks to their canine charm, obedience, and of course, trainability. In order to make sure that there is no threat around, they like to nap outdoors with their one eye open. Boerboels have incredible power, and because of that, you can often find their name on the list of dangerous breeds across the world.

Now, are you planning to get a Boerboel in your home?

Then please check with your local laws first. Then, if you have this African dog breed at home, you can rest assured that no one will mess with you or your family. Just a word of caution: If you want to keep them in line, make sure you behave like a firm pack leader.

#2. Africanis

Did you know that there is an umbrella name for all South African native dogs?

Yes, and that name is Africanis. Earlier, people used to view the Africanis as feral mongrels. By earlier, I mean the time before the 1990s. And to make these dogs popular, the Africanis Society has been working really hard. Even though the reputation of these dogs has not increased much, many families in Africa are getting to know about them and adopting them.

The Africanis generally weigh between 50 and 100 pounds. Coming to their coat, they are short. So, if you brush them only once a week, that will do. As the Africanis are a wild dog breed, their appearance varies depending on their place. And there is no standard for this dog breed. Still, you can identify them as dogs with long legs, big ears, deep chests, and not to mention their attractive looks!

The Africanis breeds of dogs are great hunting dogs.

Are you planning to adopt one?

Then you need to keep in mind that Africanis will always be hunting dogs by nature. By that, I mean you need to keep them on a leash all the time, and you cannot have any other pet that is not a dog. In addition, Africanis are independent street dogs, so you may not find them to be much affectionate. Also, you need to give them space. Finally, if you live outside of Africa, there are very few chances of coming across this dog breed.

#3. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Earlier, Zimbabwe was known as Rhodesia, and that is exactly where the Rhodesian Ridgeback is from. They are superb when it comes to confronting lions and then barking and scaring them away from their master. This is the reason they were formerly called the African Lion Dog. Rhodesian Ridgebacks love to have dinner with their favorite antelope. They are full of energy, and they need to have a lot of exercise to stay fit and happy.

This large African dog breed can weigh somewhere between 70 and 85 pounds. And when it comes to height, they are around 27 inches tall.

Did you know the most attractive and distinctive feature that the Rhodesian Ridgeback has?

They have a ridge that runs down the length of their spine. By that, I mean they have very stiff hair in that area that runs in a different direction – from the rest of their fur. I found their large round eyes and long floppy ears to be really cute! This dog breed is very famous as most people love to adopt this cute but powerful doggo. In fact, a number of Rhodesian Ridgeback mixes, including the Rhodesian Retriever, are becoming popular with dog lovers.

Okay, I agree that most people find the Rhodesian Ridgebacks to be serious-looking and formidable, but let me tell you, this dog breed is really affectionate and, yes, even-tempered. And did I mention that they love to spend time with their family in the evening?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are not that friendly when it comes to meeting new people. But they are very protective of their family. This dominant dog is strong-willed. And so, I suggest you go for this dog breed if you too are a strong-willed master.

#4. Sloughi

Did you know that the Sloughi has made it to the list of the USA’s top 200 most popular dog breeds?

And they are very hard to find. But if you go to North Africa, you will see how popular the Sloughis are, especially in the mountainous regions of Morocco. This breed of dog is a sighthound, so you can find a lot of similarities between them and the popularly-known Greyhound. And that is the reason why they are called the Arabian Greyhound too.

The Sloughis weigh between 45 and 70 pounds, and they are about 29 inches tall. You can tell from the picture how skinny and leggy this dog breed is. But don’t underestimate their powerful muscles, which are enough to catch prey. Their slinky and long tail curls up at the end. They have a long face and a deep chest. When they walk, they carry well with grace and pride.

The Sloughis have tremendous energy. And to burn that much energy, they need to have a lot of exercises, the most intense ones.

Are you thinking about getting one, Sloughi?

Just make sure to always keep them on leash – all because of the high prey drive they have. But don’t worry. They are super affectionate, loving, and sweet when they are with the family.

#5. Aidi


This dog breed comes from the North of Africa, usually the Atlas Mountains. There the Aidis used to protect flocks of sheep from predators. But don’t be mistaken by thinking that they are herding dogs. What exactly they do is guard the flocks of sheep. And if they sense any danger, they bark at their highest voice to warn the flock to run. So the Aidis can be a great watchdog.

Are you looking for a dog alarm system?  

Aidi is the one!

Many African families keep Aidis along with Sloughis as hunting dogs. When the skills of these two dog breeds are combined, they make an awesome hunting team that offers many family meals.

Aidis can weigh around 60 pounds. They have a fluffy and thick double coat – perfect for keeping them warm in the cold mountains. This feature of Aidis makes them different from most other African dog breeds. And did I mention that you need to brush their coat every alternate day?

Aidis can be extremely protective if the need arises. But on the other hand, they are pretty sensitive. They don’t like it if you leave them alone for hours. So this dog breed can be a good choice for those families that can keep him company most of the time and make him exercise a lot.

#6. Armant

Did you know that Armant is called the Egyptian Sheepdog? And that it is the herding dog of choice in Africa?

Yes! Armants were born in the 20th century, and so they are one of the youngest African dog breeds on that list. They have a tough build up and are super protective. This makes them guard their flock even with their life. And when it comes to their human family, the same applies.

The weight of an Armant can be anywhere between 50 and 65 pounds. Also, they are about 23 inches tall. The coat of Armants is medium in length. As the coat is coarse, you need to brush them at least 2-3 times a week so that you can prevent matting. It can be of different colors such as fawn, gray and black.

Now, are you a fan of cute puppy eyes like I am?

Then I’m sure you are going to fall in love with the cute eyes of Armant! Maybe, this is the reason why they are known as the teddy-bear dogs of Africa.

Armants are very active, and you need to make them exercise a lot. If you plan to make them exercise, it should be at least 1 hour of extensive exercise. They like to spend their time with other dogs. Do you have children at home?

Then Armant can be ideal for you. They love children and take care of them like a family.

#7. Greyhound


According to most researchers, Greyhounds were born in Egypt. But, you know, this dog breed is too old to be hundred percent sure about their birthplace.

Anyway, the Greyhounds were originally bred to help people in hunting rabbits and other fast prey – just like many other sighthounds from that area.

If you ask how Greyhounds are as pets, I will tell you that they are one of the best dog breeds. What I like most about them is that they are ideal even for owners who are getting a dog for the first time. Of course, in that case, you need to have them when they are still puppies. But if you want to rescue Greyhounds, then I would say that you need to have at least some experience as a dog owner. This is because the latter kind of Greyhounds can be fearful and skittish.

Greyhounds love it when you let them sleep on the couch. But know that you need to make them exercise regularly and it would be really great if you had a yard.

If you are planning to get a Greyhound, I have good news for you!

They don’t shed much, which means you don’t need to give them a lot of time in order to groom them. In the winter months, they can become really cold – all because of their thin builds and, of course, short coats. Coming to their weight, most of them weigh around 65 pounds. But if you have a large male Greyhound, it can be a bit bigger. And in that case, it can weigh more than 85 pounds.

#8. Saluki

Saluki is an ancient African dog breed that has got the grace and the poise of all ages. If you measure their height, they can be anywhere between 20 and 28 inches. And if you weigh them, they will be around 65 pounds.

Now, don’t get fooled by their bony structure. Salukis are great hunters, and they like running. They have murky origins, but you know, most people say that this dog breed has their ancestors in the Middle East. Here I’m talking about the time of 9000 years ago! Salukis are also known as the Royal Dog of Egypt. And it is told that they were mummified alongside their Egyptian masters back in the day.

Salukis are quick dogs – both physically and mentally. In Africa, they are one of the most popular dog breeds in Africa, all thanks to their God-like reputation! They can be very close to their human family. But they become quite suspicious when it comes to meeting new people. This is why you may not find them approachable at first. However, when they get to know a person and understand that they are not a threat to them, these dogs generally ignore that person.

Salukis are dignified, quiet, and dapper dogs. You can find it hard to be friends with a Saluki. But once you become friends, they will start thinking of you as a family.

This dog breed is speed demons, but still, they love it when they get to cuddle up with you on the couch.

Now, do you not have much time to make your dog exercise or take them out for outdoor activities?

Then Saluki can be a good choice. They don’t need much exercise.

Large African Dog Breeds (FAQs)

What is the biggest dog in Africa?

Boerboels, also known as South African Mastiffs, are the biggest dogs from the African continent. They are intelligent and loyal dogs who are close to their families. These hefty dogs can weigh up to 200 pounds, but despite their size, they are quite gentle. They are bred as guard dogs and are quite attentive and watchful.

What type of dogs are native to Africa?

There are quite a number of dog breeds that originated in Africa and belong to the African subcontinent. Interestingly, some of such dog breeds are very old, and their references are found in some of the oldest civilizations of the world, like the Egyptian civilization. Some of such well-known dog breeds are Boerboel, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Abyssinian Sand Terrier/Hairless African Dog, Atlas Mountain Dog/Aidi, Sloughi, Saluki, and Azawakh.

What is the national dog of South Africa?

The national dog of South Africa is the Boerboel. This mastiff-type dog is mostly used as a family guard dog. This incredibly strong dog breed is always alert and highly intelligent and is quite intolerant towards strangers

What dog hunts lions in Africa?

The Rhodesian ridgeback is a breed of dog that is native to South Africa. Although these dogs are not particularly attractive, they have a distinctive ridge-like mark on their backs. These dogs are hardy and were originally bred to encounter apex predators, like lions, and fend off baboons.

Can African wild dogs breed with other dog breeds?

Interestingly, although both African wild dogs and common dogs share the same ancestry, that is wolves, but they can’t be interbred. Besides, African wild dogs can never be domesticated, while dogs have been man’s most trusted pet for quite some centuries now.  


Now that you know all about the large African dog breeds, doesn’t it amaze you to see how different dogs in one continent alone can be?

Some dog breeds have still managed to preserve their legacy, such as the Saluki. And that is why it is my favorite.

So, which dog breeds do you like the most among these?

Let me know in the comments!

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